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Prior to the ACCA Steering Committee (SC) meeting, the ACCA SC members had brainstorming sessions on how best to drive the Coalition forward. Using these sessions as a backdrop, it was decided to kick-start this ambitious project by hosting the first-ever ACCA SC in-person meeting. Planning for the meeting began in January of this year which led to the convening of ACCA SC Members in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 – 16 February 2016.

This marked the first ACCA SC meeting since the appointment of the SC members in September 2014. The list of SC members who attended the meeting included:

  • Pasience Mlowe – Legal and Human Resources Centre (Tanzania);
  • Abiodun Baiyewu – Global Rights Nigeria (Nigeria);
  • Christian Mounzeo – Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (Congo Republic);
  • Michel Yoboue – Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (Cote d’Ivoire);
  • Eric Kajemba – Observatoire Gouvernance (Democratic Republic of Congo); and
  • Mutuso Dhliwayo – Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zimbabwe).
With the exception of one member, all ACCA SC members were present at this meeting, giving it the necessary quorum to decide on ACCA-related matters. In addition to the SC members, the meeting was attended by Lien de Brouckere and Amol Mehra (ICAR), who have both played instrumental roles in setting up the ACCA, Damian Oakes (ACCA Coordinator), and Josua Loots who represented the Centre for Human Rights (the hosting organisation for the ACCA).

The two-day meeting in Kenya was loosely divided between discussing internal SC matters, matters pertaining to the ACCA more broadly, and planning for the upcoming ACCA General Assembly (GA). The need to build trust and a sound working relationship within the ACCA SC was deemed as a priority along with creating strategies for overcoming the communication barrier at the SC level. Brainstorming sessions on the direction of the work of the ACCA were held, and objectives and focus areas were boiled down to substantive workstreams. The SC discussed the first focus area of ‘community rights’ on the ACCA Action Plan, and decided that a workstream will be created around Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Similarly, the SC decided to develop a workstream around ‘access to remedies’, which will also be presented to the membership. The two co-chairpersons are currently developing the concept note for the respective works streams which will be presented to the ACCA membership ahead of the upcoming General Assembly.

The second day of the meeting began with SC members redefining duties of the general ACCA membership in relation to the Coalition’s 1-2 year plan. The overall purpose that ACCA members should serve within the Coalition was also defined, and planning for the ACCA General Assembly (GA) got underway. Two SC co-Chairpersons were elected, Michel Yoboue – (Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives, Cote d’Ivoire) and Abiodun Baiyewu (Global Rights, Nigeria). Outside of the daily sessions, SC members dedicated extra time to reworking and finalising important ACCA documents that include the SC Norms and Procedures, ACCA Norms and Procedures (for General membership), and the ACCA Action Plan and Strategy. The dates, format and draft agenda for the General Assembly, as well as a fundraising strategy and goals in that regard, were also discussed and agreed upon during the meeting.

The SC meeting permitted ACCA SC members to pave the way forward for the ACCA in the true spirit of camaraderie, and provided the necessary platform for SC members to combine their expertise and passion for the ACCA towards achieving common objectives. The upcoming ACCA GA will be the first stand-alone ACCA GA, and is a very important event on the ACCA calender. During this event, the SC co-chairpersons will not only present the intended objectives of their respective works teams (Abiodun Baiyewu on FPIC and Michel Yoboue on Access to Remedies), but will seek to finalise the formation of ACCA Working Groups. More information on the work streams will be provided to the ACCA membership in the build-up to the GA.

- ACCA Coordinator – Damian Oakes